NELSON’s Town Team is celebrating the announcement the town has been chosen as a Mary Portas Pilot.
The town will now receive a share of £1.2m. to help revitalise its high street.
Coun. Joe Cooney, Leader of Pendle Council, said: “We’re thrilled Nelson is among the first 12 Portas Pilot towns out of 370 towns that applied for the funding.
“Nelson has been chosen due to the strength of our bid, which focused on our plans to tackle the numbers of empty shops in the town and involve more young people in their town centre.
“The success of our bid just goes to show what can be achieved when the local community, traders and council all work together – and this is only the beginning!”
Nelson will receive the full £100,000 it bid for through the Portas Pilot project.
The newly-formed Nelson Town Team plans to use the funding to tackle the high numbers of empty shops and market stalls.
They also have plans to address the lack of younger shoppers in town.
The Town Team will also use the funding to:
Help local students and young entrepreneurs set up temporary businesses or displays in empty properties. This would mean they can test their business idea and learn visual merchandising skills, such as how to display student’s college art work.
Explore the feasibility of setting up a town centre café aimed at young people with free Wi-Fi and healthy food and giving them a place to work and socialise in the town centre.
Enable sport activities in the town centre like morning bootcamps, lunchtime yoga, sport events and sport tuition.
Commission artists to work with young people from empty town centre shops/market stalls. Artists will be challenged to do projects which generate young person footfall in the town centre.
Set up an art and vintage market in the town centre.
Organise College Freshers Week’ activities in the town centre to form habits in Year 1 students to use Nelson Town Centre.
Nick Emery, member of the Town Team and Nelson Town Centre Partnership co-optee on Pendle Council’s Nelson Committee, said: “This is fantastic news for the town, It’s not just the cash - which is brilliant of course! – but also the level of publicity and expertise Nelson will now get.
“The Town Team has done a great job writing the bid and creating the short film, all in a short timeframe with limited resources.
“I’d like to thank Pendle Movie Makers and Nelson and Colne College for the huge role they played.”
Stephanie Cardwell, of Nelson Town Team and Scotland Road Traders’ Group, said: “I am thrilled; the news couldn’t be better.
“The Nelson Town Team is so excited! This is just the first step; the Nelson business community now really needs to get behind this project.
“It’s going to put the town on the map and I believe it will genuinely bring about much needed change in Nelson.”
Hanna Latty, Pendle Council’s Town Centres Officer, said: “I am ecstatic! This is a great step forward for Nelson on the back of a huge investment in the environmehe town this time last year.
“It’s a brilliant way to give something back to the dedicated traders of Nelson who have supported the town for many, many years.
“The hard work starts here though. It’s time to start talking up the town and for everyone to back this project – Nelson is becoming a star!”
Don’t miss Friday’s Nelson Leader for lots more on this news!